Sitting cross-legged on a mattress with mended patches all over it, a smile flickers on the bony face of young Masarat jaan battling cancer when talking about a Kashmiri Pandit family.
Masarat, the 25-year-old resident of south Kashmir’s Takia Drubgam village has been battling bone marrow cancer for several months. Her family has been in dire straits with her treatment draining every single penny earned and saved by her daily-wage labourer husband.
“I am a daily-wage worker. I do menial jobs at construction sites. Whatever I had saved has been spent on her treatment,”said her husband Mushtaq Ahmad Parray.
As Parray ran short of money after spending lakhs on his wife’s treatment, he, on the advice of friends, made an appeal for donations on social media. Her appeal reached many and was seen by a Kashmiri Pandit entrepreneur and philanthropist, Renu Bakshi, in Kuwait. She saw the appeal on Facebook and decided to help the family.
“I could not hold back my tears as soon as I saw Parray appealing for donations on social media. The appeal really struck a chord and I immediately decided to visit the family of Parray” said Bakshi. “After all, we Kashmiris have a tradition of being together in tough times,” she added.
On June 21, Bakshi along with her sister, cousin and a local journalist visited the Parray and offered to bear all the expenses of the treatment. She has also decided to pay for all the educational expenses of her son.
“I will try to get her the best possible treatment and will also bear all the educational expenses of her son, ” Bakshi said.
Oblivious to everything, Masarat’s four-year-old son suddenly comes and sits in her lap. Putting her hand on his head, Masarat says, “Allah has sent her to save my son from becoming an orphan.” Soon tears well up in her eyes.
Bakshi added that a group of prominent oncologists from Delhi were visiting Kashmir next week and she was planning to take an opinion from them before shifting Masarat to Delhi for the treatment.
“I was caught off guard when they visited my house. It was not less than a miracle. They have got our hopes up” said Parray.